WOLFSBURG, Germany: Europe's largest automaker Volkswagen Group lifted global sales 9.3% in 2006, the company reported at the weekend. In all, 5.73 million units were sold worldwide.

Even in the face of torpid major markets, the group's eponymous Volkswagen marque hiked sales by 10% to a record 3.39m units, while its Audi premium brand notched its thirteenth year of improved sales - rising 9.2% across the planet.

New models helped boost stateside sales 5.9% to 330,000 vehicles; and Western Europe deliveries rose 5.8 percent, to 3.11 million units. In its German backyard, sales rose 7.3% to 1.11m units.

Among foreign running-dog capitalist carmakers, VW continued to head China's imported auto brands in 2006, scoring a 24.3% increase to 711,000 vehicles.

Data sourced from New York Times/Reuters; additional content by WARC staff